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Our probate fees vary depending on the complexity of each case.
Contrary to what some may believe, probate can be a complex matter and expertise goes a long way especially when it involves tax. To put it bluntly - it is what you don’t know that poses risk.
In some cases, a grant of probate will not be required. If so, we will advise you on the steps you need to take to deal with the administration.
For straight forward and simple estates we offer a ‘Grant Only’ service. A typical example suitable for this type of service would be an estate consisting of say 1 or 2 bank accounts with balances under £50,000. Under this service, you would be expected to carry out the leg work. Our involvement will predominantly be to complete the inheritance tax forms and probate applications, report our findings to you, obtain the grant of probate and forward it to you so you can deal with the administration.
In most cases, our clients prefer to engage our ‘Full Administration’ service. This option offers a hassle free service whereby we will deal with the administration from start to finish. Your matter will be led by a solicitor and backed by expertise.
We acknowledge that fees are an important factor when engaging legal services. It is for this reason that we choose to be transparent and whenever possible we will confirm our fees and disbursements at the outset.
Rather than impose a fee structure on our clients, we often provide a few options so our clients can make an informed decision before engaging our services.
We offer a free initial consultation during which we will discuss the probate process and provide you with our fee options.
For guidance on our fee structures, please select from the options below:
Grant Only service:
As an executor, you are responsible for the general administration of the estate. In a nutshell this includes:
- obtaining all relevant information to enable the estate to be accurately valued for inheritance tax and probate purposes;
- completing the relevant application forms and any applicable HMRC forms;
- collecting, realising and transferring the assets of the estate;
- settling any outstanding debts and tax bills;
- finalising all inheritance tax and income tax;
- Distributing the estate in line with the will or intestacy laws.
What is included in this service?
We will apply for the grant of probate on your behalf. This will involve:
- drafting the necessary inheritance tax forms and probate application paperwork;
- reporting to you;
- submitting the relevant inheritance tax forms and applying for the grant of probate;
- Obtaining the grant of probate (assuming it is issued by the court) and forwarding it to you so you can deal with the administration.
Typically our fees fall in the region of £850 to £1,500 + VAT and disbursements.
Our retainer under this type of service is specific to the tasks we agree to undertake.
Any additional work such as tax advice or planning will be charged separately. If this arises, we will provide you with a cost estimate before undertaking the additional work. Whilst this is a cost effective service, we would only recommend it for simple estates.
Disbursements and optional expenses
In addition to our fees there will be additional disbursements which you will have to pay.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. For the grant only service, we anticipate incurring the following disbursements:
What is included in the service?
We offer a hassle free service whereby we will administer the estate from start to finish. Broadly speaking, this service includes:
- Attending and communicating to you and third parties throughout the administration period;
- Reviewing the documentation and information which you provide to us at the initial meeting and during the administration period;
- Writing to the various organisations and making enquiries about details of assets, liabilities and income for probate purposes;
- Providing you with general advice pertaining to the administration of the estate;
- Arranging valuations of the assets in line with S160 Inheritance Tax Act (any third party costs will be borne by the estate);
- Considering provisions of the will/intestacy and providing advice if necessary;
- Completing the correct inheritance tax forms and bundle for HMRC and advising on general inheritance tax matters;
- Completing the probate application paperwork;
- Obtaining the grant of probate (assuming it is issued by the court) and dealing with queries from the probate registry;
- Arranging to realise and transfer assets of the estate;
- Settling known debts of the estate;
- Re-considering the inheritance tax position taking into account taking into account post death variations, loss on sale of assets, additional liabilities and assets;
- Reviewing the income tax position taking into account income tax and capital gains tax during the period of administration;
- Reporting to you periodically and attending to queries which you may have pertaining to the administration;
- Preparing the estate administration accounts in line with non-contentious probate rules;
- Assisting in tracing missing beneficiaries (third party costs may apply) and undertaking bankruptcy searches;
- Dealing with the distribution of the estate.
Depending on your circumstances and complexity of the case, we offer a few fee options for the Full Administration service. These are:
1. Scale fees
2. Fixed fees
3. Time Spent with value element
Each of these options has advantages and disadvantages. We will run through the options with you at the initial meeting so you can make an informed decision before instructing us.
1. Scale fees
This is one of our most common fee options which our clients prefer.
The fees are calculated based on 2 elements:
- A percentage of the value of any property or land held by the deceased; and
- A fee based on the table of scales for all other assets of the estate, such as bank accounts, cash, investments, antiquities and personal belongings for example but excluding property and land.
2. Fixed fee multiplier
As the title suggests, our fees will be based on a multiplier applied to the gross value of the estate (the higher of the value for inheritance tax or probate purposes). We will agree the multiplier at the initial meeting, after we have had a chance to consider the extent and complexity of the case.
Typically our fees fall in the range from 1.25% to 2.5% plus VAT and disbursements.
3. Time spent with value element
This option, previously published by the Society’s Practice Advise Service, is calculated based on 2 elements:
- Time spent – discounted hourly rates of the fee earners assisting in the case; and
- A value element.
As guidance, the discounted rates of the fee earners, subject to review, are as follows:
The total time incurred by the fee earner is dependent on the extent and complexity of the estate. At the outset, it can be difficult to estimate the total time mainly because there can be variations and unpredictable outcomes.
As guidance, we have illustrated the time we anticipate incurring taking into account complexity and timescales:
Typically, the value element is 0.75% plus vat of the gross value of the estate (the higher of the value for inheritance tax or probate purposes).
Disbursements and optional expenses
In addition to our fees there will be additional fees and disbursements to be paid.
Disbursements: are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the expenses on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. These fees are detailed below:
Optional expenses: Some expenses are optional and depending on the case and our advice, you may or may not decide to select them. They include:
1) The pricing options set out above do not include additional professional services such as conveyancing, matrimonial, litigation and tax planning. We will provide you with separate costs if we are instructed to undertake any such work in addition to the probate administration.
2) The pricing information which we have published is not intended to be binding nor constitute an offer. Please contact us for a bespoke quotation.
3) The information provided is not to be construed as legal advice. Please consult one of our experts if you wish to discuss your case.
Who will carry out this work for you?
Any probate work conducted on your behalf, will be carried out by suitably qualified legal staff from our respected and specialist Private Client team. The team is led by partner David Chandra. To view profiles of the partners, solicitors and other legally qualified individuals in the team, please click here.
Copyright, Judge & Priestley LLP, 2018